At approximately 835 a.m. on Thursday, August 30th, Box 511 was transmitted for the electric manhole fire in the area of 27 Brattle St. A full assignment of 3 engines, 2 ladders, 1 squad, Rescue 1, and Division Chief 2 were initially dispatched. As firefighters were working on scene, fire had impacted at least two other manholes in the Brattle Square area. Fire companies evacuated occupants from area exposure buildings, deployed hose lines, and tested air quality inside area buildings. Several buildings had high levels of CO (carbon monoxide) due to underground burning electrical equipment. Firefighters in full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) set up fans and ventilated these buildings to restore air quality to normal limits. This was a long duration incident which involved numerous fire companies throughout the day. The last Fire Department units had cleared from the incident at 535 p.m. although Eversource technicians did remain on scene to continue their work.
No injuries to civilians were reported. A few non-life-threatening injuries were received by firefighters.
Eversource technicians responded to shut down power in the affected area and to troubleshoot and correct the electrical issues.
Numerous Cambridge Police officers were on scene to divert vehicular and pedestrian traffic in this very busy area.
MBTA personnel and Transit Police also worked on scene rerouting bus traffic in the area.
Professional Ambulance stood by for potential medical issues.
Cambridge Inspectional Services Electrical and Health Inspectors also assisted on scene.